Trumplandia | The New Game in Washington that Dems are Wise to Play
Wake up, DC Democrats, get over yourselves and play the Trump game – or else.
We woke up the day after Election Day 2016 to a new reality. The unthinkable has happened. On that point, most of us can agree. We just lived through the biggest election shocker of all time. Now I’m waiting for the Dems in DC to get smart, get over themselves and play the Trump game. If they don’t, they miss a golden opportunity.
The game is called Trumplandia and the rules of it can be found in Trump’s book Art of the Deal, and in all those seasons of The Apprentice that I bet few Dems in DC have bothered to watch.
Here’s a Cliff’s Notes version of Trump’s negotiation tactics to get you started. Here’s one I think you should pay close attention to:
Trump Rule: Think Big
“I like thinking big. I always have. To me it’s very simple: if you’re going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big.”
Dems, you have a huge opportunity. Trump is coming to DC to play his game, and if you know anything about the man, you know he likes to be the judge. He likes to choose between competing proposals and strike deals.
You might get 49% of what you want. After all, Trump is not from the Republican establishment and was as hard on them as he was on you during the campaign. He was the match that set off the powder keg during the Republican primaries, and I bet you loved watching him drop like a shit bomb on the parade of Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and other name-brand Republicans. He gave them hell and for that you should be thankful, if not gleeful.
If you don’t come to the table and negotiate with the man, you get nothing, and neither do any of the Americans who believe in your policies and values. Plus, you leave him no one to play ball with except the hard right of political Washington.
But remember your position. He doesn’t need you, you need him and he knows that. The Republicans have the clout to ram through just about anything they want.
Trump Rule: Use Your Leverage.
“The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it. That makes the other guy smell blood, and then you’re dead.”
You can start today and negotiate. You are going to have to let Trump pay back the people who helped him during the campaign. Hold your nose, note your objections and give in. Don’t kick up too much fuss. But after that, everything else is potentially on the table. Trump wants to hear what you have to say, and hear what Republicans have to say, and strike some sort of deal. That’s how he’s operated for decades and there’s no reason to think it’ll be much different now that he’s president.
That’s the art of the deal, to position yourself as middleman. Remember Bill Clinton’s tactic of triangulation between Republicans and Democrats in Congress? You triangulate between Trump and the Republican Party.
Trump Rule: Maximize the Options.
“I never get too attached to one deal or one approach…I keep a lot of balls in the air, because most deals fall out, no matter how promising they seem at first.”
Trump might just be able to get you some of what you wouldn’t have a chance of getting otherwise, no matter who is president, because of his position with Republicans. He has spoken in favor of reproductive rights so you know you can protect those. He promised infrastructure spending, and hey, that’s your arena. You can have a say in how the money is spent. You can insist on continuing Obama’s legacy of driving down the national deficit and insist that tax cuts don’t add a penny to the national debt. That message needs to spun out today and repeated a million times so you position yourself and have a shot at winning the next election as the more fiscally conservative party. There’s a lot you can accomplish if you get down off your high horse and dirty your feet.
But only if you play Trumplandia.
Be the squirrel collecting his nuts. Get on his good side – believe it or not he has one. And remember that the day is probably coming when Republicans turn on him and get some payback, even by impeaching him. He’ll be looking for a friend and you can be positioned to accept him where he really belongs, if you only consider the policy views he’s expressed over the years. Trump is a shade of blue-red and it’ll show over time. He can be persuaded away from the extremes. He might even say sorry for some of that crap he said about immigrants, women and minorities.
And please, please remember this:
“In most cases I’m very easy to get along with. I’m very good to people who are good to me. But when people treat me badly or unfairly or try to take advantage of me, my general attitude, all my life, has been to fight back very hard.”